Po­lice ar­rest 18 dur­ing joint op­er­a­tion us­ing he­li­copter

The Morning Call - - LOCAL NEWS - By Manuel Gamiz Jr.

Us­ing a po­lice he­li­copter to watch from above, Al­len­town po­lice con­ducted a joint op­er­a­tion Thurs­day night that led to 18 ar­rests, in­clud­ing two men on gun charges and one man be­lieved to be in­volved in a bru­tal rob­bery where the vic­tim was hit in the head with the butt of an AK-47 ri­fle, po­lice said.

Al­len­town po­lice Chief Glenn Granitz Jr. de­scribed it as “a pre­planned proac­tive op­er­a­tion,” that in­cluded state po­lice’s avi­a­tion unit, the Le­high County Dis­trict At­tor­ney’s drug and auto theft task forces, pro­ba­tion and pa­role, Home­land Se­cu­rity In­ves­ti­ga­tions, the Drug En­force­ment Ad­min­is­tra­tion and the FBI. Al­len­town con­ducted a sim­i­lar op­er­a­tion last month that re­sulted in 28 ar­rests, in­clud­ing one man wanted on an at­tempted homi­cide charge.

In Thurs­day’s op­er­a­tion, two of the ar­rests were the re­sult of ve­hi­cles stops where po­lice took guns off the street, court records say. The third ar­rest hap­pened when a man, bleed­ing from his head, flagged down a po­lice de­tec­tive at 8:24 p.m. on North Sev­enth Street and re­ported that he had just been robbed by two men, one of them armed with an AK-47, court records say.

Capt. Bill Lake said the other ar­rests dur­ing the op­er­a­tion, which be­gan at 4 p.m. and con­tin­ued through the night, were for war­rants and drug of­fend­ers, in­clud­ing one man charged with pos­ses­sion with in­tent to de­liver.

Ac­cord­ing to a crim­i­nal com­plaint:

The man said the rob­bery hap­pened in a home in the 100 block of North Sev­enth Street and de­scribed the man with the AK-47 ri­fle as hav­ing a mask that cov­ered the bot­tom half of his face. The sec­ond man wore shorts, a white un­der­shirt and had a satchel.

One of the re­spond­ing of­fi­cers saw a man fit­ting a de­scrip­tion run­ning from the area and de­tained him.

The man was later iden­ti­fied as Isa­iah M. Clark, 22, of Al­len­town. The vic­tim iden­ti­fied Clark as one of the men who robbed him, but not the one armed with the AK-47.

Po­lice found $15, which had blood on it, and a bag of mar­i­juana on Clark.

The man who said he was robbed told po­lice he met with Clark to sell him some mar­i­juana, and Clark led him to a sec­ond-floor apart­ment home in the 100 block of North Sev­enth Street, where the masked gun­man en­tered the apart­ment. The masked gun­man or­dered the two men on the ground.

Clark got down, but the vic­tim stood still and told him to “just take his mar­i­juana.” Clark then stood up and grabbed the mar­i­juana.

Clark then grabbed the vic­tim by the hair and pulled him to the ground and told the gun­man to hit him. The gun­man hit him with the butt of his AK-47 ri­fle, caus­ing a large gash to his head.

Clark, of the 400 block of Oak Street, was charged with rob­bery, sim­ple as­sault, theft, re­ceiv­ing stolen prop­erty and crim­i­nal con­spir­acy. He was ar­raigned by Dis­trict Judge Ron Manescu and sent to Le­high County Jail un­der $75,000 bail.

Be­fore that ar­rest, an Al­len­town po­lice of­fi­cer and a state trooper pulled over a ve­hi­cle at 7 p.m. in the 600 block of North Sixth Street for ex­pired reg­is­tra­tion. Po­lice smelled mar­i­juana in the car and the pas­sen­ger ad­mit­ted to hav­ing some in his pocket.

Dur­ing a search, po­lice found a shoul­der bag with mar­i­juana and a loaded .38-Spe­cial re­volver in­side. The gun had been re­ported stolen in Oc­to­ber to Colo­nial Re­gional po­lice.

Po­lice de­ter­mined the bag be­longed to the driver, Chris­tian O. Rivera-Alicea, who was not al­lowed to have a gun be­cause of a past felony drug con­vic­tion.

Rivera-Alicea, 31, of the 400 block of Grant Street in Al­len­town, was charged with pro­hib­ited pos­ses­sion of a firearm, firearms not to be car­ried with­out a li­cense, re­ceiv­ing stolen prop­erty, pos­ses­sion of a small amount of mar­i­juana and driv­ing with ex­pired reg­is­tra­tion. He was ar­raigned by Dis­trict Judge Michael D’Amore and sent to Le­high County Jail un­der $50,000 bail.

At 7:30 p.m., an Al­len­town po­lice of­fi­cer and a state trooper were con­duct­ing surveil­lance at Sixth and Allen streets when they spot­ted a ve­hi­cle with heav­ily tinted win­dows. Po­lice stopped the car at Fifth and Allen streets and no­ticed the back­seat pas­sen­ger mak­ing move­ments.

Three peo­ple in the car were or­dered out and po­lice found mar­i­juana on the back­seat pas­sen­ger, Tai­jon D. Ed­wards. Po­lice later found a .380-cal­iber gun un­der the seat cush­ion where Ed­wards had been seated.

Ed­wards, 22, of the 700 block of South Wood­ward Street in Al­len­town, was charged with pro­hib­ited pos­ses­sion of a firearm, firearms not to be car­ried with­out a li­cense and pos­ses­sion of a small amount of mar­i­juana. He was also ar­raigned by D’Amore and sent to county jail un­der $50,000 bail.

Us­ing a he­li­copter in its en­force­ment ef­forts is noth­ing new, Lake said. “Maybe it hasn’t been so ap­par­ent in the past,” he said, about team­ing up with other agen­cies to fight crime in the city.

Lake said the de­part­ment has been more proac­tive in get­ting guns, drugs and law­break­ers off the streets, in part, be­cause of the vi­o­lence this sum­mer, which saw dozens of peo­ple in­jured by gun­fire.

More op­er­a­tions may be planned for the fu­ture, but Granitz, aware of the con­cern res­i­dents shared on so­cial me­dia, said “we can’t tell peo­ple ahead of time.”

Manuel Gamiz Jr. can be reached at 610-820-6595 or at [email protected]

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